Gleyber Torres and Jeremy Null continue to be the story for the South Bend Cubs as the organization’s Low-A affiliate improved to a game over .500. Torres finished his first month with South Bend with a .352/.446/.423 slash line with a .868 OPS. And Null was a perfect 2-0 in four starts with a 0.79 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. In 22.2 innings, Null has allowed two runs on 18 hits with no walks and 23 strikeouts.
Myrtle Beach’s bullpen held up Wednesday but could not hold a lead in the ninth inning Thursday.
Double-A Tennessee dropped a couple of games as The Bash Brothers cooled off, even with help from newcomer Jacob Hannemann.
And the return of Javier Baez didn’t help Iowa’s bullpen in an extra innings loss to Darwin Barney and the Dodgers on Thursday night.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (11-10)
South Bend played an afternoon game Wednesday and in a pitcher’s duel topped Western Michigan 2-0. It was another impressive start for Jeremy Null, as he scattered six hits and fanned six in 5.2 innings. James Farris had his best outing since Opening Night. Farris struck out two and allowed only a hit with a walk in 2.1 innings. Jordan Minch had a strikeout and worked around a walk in the ninth inning for his first save.
It was a scoreless game until the eighth inning when Jeffrey Baez (0-for-4) started things by reaching on an error. A fielder’s choice substituted Justin Marra (0-for-3) for Baez at first. David Bote ran for Marra. Charcer Burks (1-for-3) laced a two out single, and a triple by Gleyber Torres (2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI) scored Bote and Burks.
Thursday’s 6-3 victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps brought the South Bend Cubs over .500 on the season thanks to a 4-for-5, RBI and stolen base performance from shortstop Gleyber Torres. It was his third four-hit game of his career and he has now reached base safely in his last eight games.
South Bend scored right away in the inning thanks to an RBI groundout from second baseman Chesny Young (0-for-3 with two RBI and a walk) scoring left fielder Charcer Burks who worked a lead-off walk. The run marked South Bend’s 19th of 21 games were they scored first. After the Whitecaps answered back with the tying run in the bottom half of the inning, the SB Cubs added three more runs with two RBI singles from Torres, catcher Justin Marra (2-for-4 with a RBI) and a sacrifice fly from Young. After West Michigan closed the gap to 4-3, South Bend added the rest of the offense with a two-run double from designated hitter Jason Vosler. (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI)
Starting pitcher Erick Leal remained undefeated earning his third victory by pitching five innings and giving up only two earned runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts to lower his ERA to 2.25. Right hander Francisco Carrillo was impressive in three scoreless innings of relief striking out three and giving up just one hit.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (10-9)
Myrtle Beach turned the tables Wednesday as the Pelican stole a victory late with a 2-1 victory over Wilmington 2-1. Jonathan Martinez put on a show, limiting the Blue Rocks to two hits and striking out two in six scoreless innings. Ben Wells gave up the only run in his inning of work. Gerardo Concepcion picked up his first save. Concepcion walked two, struck out one, and gave up a hit in two scoreless innings.
Down 1-0 in the eighth, Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a stolen base) reached with a one out single, stole second base and made it to third on a throwing error. Danny Lockhart (0-for-2) walked and a sacrifice bunt by Carlos Penalver (0-for-2 with an RBI) scored Martin. Mark Zagunis (2-for-3 with an RBI) singled in Lockhart with the go-ahead run.
The Pelicans dropped Thursday’s game to Wilmington 6-4. Myrtle Beach lead the game 4-2 going into the ninth but the Blue Rocks scored four runs off Josh Conway and James Pugliese.
The Pelicans wasted a good outing from Daury Torrez. Torrez allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and a strikeout in six innings.
Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with a run scored) got the scoring started for the Pelicans in the second inning. Carhart singled with two outs and scored on a double from the recently promoted Trey Martin (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI). Myrtle Beach added to the lead in the fifth after another two-out hit started the scoring. Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with a run scored) singled to left and scored on a triple from Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a triple and a RBI). Zagunis was thrown out at the plate trying to score to end the inning.
After Wilmington tied the game at two in the fifth, the Pelicans scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take the 4-2 lead into the ninth. Jacob Rogers (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) hit a ground rule double in the seventh, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball with Martin at the plate. Kevin Brown (1-for-4 with a run scored) singled with two down in the eighth. Billy McKinney (0-for-3 with a walk) and Jeimer Candelario (0-for-3 with a walk) walked to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Brown to scamper in from third.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (11-8)
The Tennessee bats were silenced in a Wednesday matinee as the Smokies lost 3-1 to Chattanooga. Felix Pena remains impressive as he allowed an earned run on four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in seven innings. C.J. Edwards once again had trouble throwing strikes as he gave up two earned runs on three hits and two walks with one strikeout in two innings.
The only run for the Smokies came in the seventh after Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a double) led off with a double and moved to third on a one out single from Stephen Bruno (2-for-4). A suicide squeeze from Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with an RBI) scored Contreras.
The Smokies could not dig out of an early hole and lost 5-3 to Birmingham on Thursday night. Rob Zastryzny lasted just one inning and gave up three runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout. The recently activated Zastryzny likely hit his pitch count as reports did not suggest he left the game with an injury. Jeffry Antigua was sent back to Tennessee and in his first game back with the Smokies he allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout in four innings. Michael Jensen pitched two scoreless innings and Starling Peralta put a zero on the board in his only inning of work.
The Smokies did not get on the board until the sixth inning and by that time Tennessee was already down 5-0. Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5 with two runs scored) led off the sixth with a single to right and scored on a double from Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and a RBI) but Chen was thrown out at third for the first out of the inning.
Hannemann jump started the offense again in the eighth with a two out single to center. Chen followed with a walk and put two on for the Smokies’ DH. Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a walk) doubled to center. Hannemann scored and Chen stopped at third. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4) was called out on strikes and Willson Contreras (1-for-3) grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Smokies brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after Elliot Soto (1-for-4 with a run scored) singled with two outs and scored on a double from Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI). But down by two, Hannemann was caught looking to end the game.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (9-11)
Iowa had a scheduled day off on Wednesday.
Iowa got a boost to their ranks with the return of Javier Baez on Thursday. Unfortunately, his arrival wasn’t enough as the team fell 4-2 to the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 13 innings.
Javier Baez did little to help on offense. Baez went 1-for-6 with a double and three strikeouts while playing second base and batting third. Iowa did receive production from third baseman Christian Villanueva, who went 2-for-4 with a solo homerun in the second inning to put the game’s first run on the board, and Jonathan Mota (1-for-5 with a RBI). Mota’s RBI single scored Christian Villanueva in the fifth. John Andreoli also netted two hits in the contest.
Pitching was relatively solid for Iowa in the game aside from a meltdown in the 13th by right hander Michael Wagner. Wagner walked three batters and gave up two hits and two earned runs for the loss. Starter Carlos Pimentel had his second positive start in a row giving up just one run in six innings while walking two and striking out three. After Yoanner Negrin could not hold the lead in the seventh and gave up the tying run, Joseph Ortiz, Blake Cooper and Andres Santiago combined for five shutout innings despite walking five batters.
News and Notes
The South Bend Cubs activated OF Jeffrey Baez from the 7-day disabled list; placed RHP James Norwood on the 7-day disabled list.
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Barret Loux on the 7-day disabled list Thursday with a right triceps strain retroactive to Monday, April 27. Iowa activated RHP Brian Schlitter.